St Trinian's is the sixth in a long-running series of films based on the works of cartoonist Ronald Searle. The first five films form a series, starting with The Belles of St Trinian's in 1954, with sequels in 1957, 1960, 1966 and 1981.
The 2007 release, coming 27 years after the last entry and 53 years after the first film, is a rebooting of the franchise, rather than a direct sequel, with certain plot elements borrowed from the first film.
St Trinian's is an anarchic school for uncontrollable girls run by eccentric headmistress Camilla Dagey Fritton (the reboot continues the tradition, established by Alastair Sim in the original film, of casting a male actor who plays a female character in drag, with Rupert Everett inheriting the role).
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The film opens with Annabelle Fritton being admitted to St Trinians by her aunt Camilla and her father Carnaby. She is terribly depressed, and after being knocked out of the way by a rush of girls, she meets head girl Kelly Jones who shows her around the school and introduces her to various cliques – Posh Totty, Chavs, Emos, Geeks, and First Years.
In her room, a booby trap results in gunge and feathers on Annabelle, who attempts to clean up in the shower, but falls victim to another trap when the girls set up cameras directly connected to YouTube, steal her clothes and towels, and turn up the water temperature, forcing her to run through the halls naked. Once dressed, Annabelle phones and demands to be taken home. Carnaby, however, pretends to lose reception as he is enjoying his freedom without Annabelle. In frustration, Annabelle hits her mobile phone with a hockey stick across the hall and smashes a marble bust into pieces. Miss Cleaver, the Sports Teacher, sees this and instantly drafts her into the school hockey team.
A few days later, St Trinian hosts a hockey match against Annabelle's old school – their rivals Cheltenham Ladies' College, captained by Verity Thwaites, the school bully; Annabelle was her favourite victim. The girls give a hostile and violent welcome to their visitors and the match ends in a brawl; the St Trinian's matron is the referee and does not know the rules, so the girls cheat excessively. Eventually, there is a tie and the final shot is left up to Annabelle who is intimidated by Verity. Kelly takes her place and scores, knocking Verity out in the process.
During the match, Education Minister and Verity's father Geoffrey Thwaites comes to the school. He is planning to force it to raise its very poor standards, and to use it as a warning for other schools. He is taken aback when introduced to the Headmistress, and it is revealed that not only do they know each other, but previously had a romantic relationship. Geoffrey sneaks into the school and discovers many horrors, including a girl trapped in a tank of formaldehyde in the art rooms and the illegal vodka, which is so strong that he instantly becomes tipsy after a slight taste. He accidentally knocks over a tank of biting ants, which crawl all over his shoes and up his trousers. Geoffrey is about to escape the school when he hears the Posh Totties coming in. He hides from them in their dressing room. Still in hiding Geoffrey tries to remove his trousers to prevent him from being bitten by the ants when his phone rings, causing the Posh Totty to discover him and throw him out the window into a fountain. Drenched and humiliated, he declares war on Miss Fritton and the school.
Celebrating their win over Cheltenham, the St Trinian's girls have a wild party. The next morning, a banker named Steve Furst stops by to inform Miss Fritton that St Trinian's owes the bank over half a million pounds, and if they don't pay the money in four weeks the school will be shut down. Kelly and the head of the Geeks, Polly, learn of this and Kelly tells the girls they must earn the money or else they will have to go to normal schools. Some days later through electronic spy cameras, the girls and especially Annabelle witness Carnaby attempting to broker a business deal with Miss Fritton. Carnaby wants to sell the school, that way they can repay the debt and split the profits. She refuses, inquiring about Annabelle. Carnaby reveals his true feelings about Annabelle – he does not like her and is not sure if he is really her father.
With the help of Flash Harry, the girls decide to use crime to get the money and hatch a plan to steal the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring (or as Chelsea puts it, "Scarlett Johansson" - an in-joke referring to another Colin Firth film). They organize a school trip to the London National Art Gallery where it is being held, to scope out the scene. After seeing how difficult it is going to be, they give up, until the new English teacher Miss Dickinson casually mentions that the finals of the TV quiz show School Challenge competition are to be filmed in the grand hall of the gallery.
As they make their plans, Geoffrey decides to show the media exactly what St Trinian's is like. However, the girls spot them and change around the classrooms until they are in perfect order. The only classroom that isn't changed is the one where preparations for the heist are taking place. As the press are about to enter, Annabelle manages to distract them by revealing that Verity was the school bully at her old school. Miss Fritton arrives down the stairs dressed asQueen Elizabeth I. In the midst of the conversation between them, Miss Fritton's dog once again tries to mate with Geoffrey's leg. Irritated, Geoffrey kicks him, sending him flying out the window before crashlanding in the lawnmower instantly killing him.
In the middle of the night, Annabelle is woken up by the girls and as thanks for standing up for the school, is given a confidence-boosting makeover. Afterward when Kelly asks Annabelle how she feels, she replies "Like a St Trinian!". While still not fully accepted, she feels much stronger in herself.
Annabelle tries to persuade Flash Harry to act as a prestigious gay German art dealer named Gerhardt von Struebel so that he can sell a false version of the painting to Carnaby. He feels unsure but Kelly persuades him to comply (as he secretly has feelings for her, although she knows about them and uses them to her advantage). The school team for School Challenge consists of the three Posh Totties, Chelsea, Peaches, and Chloe. They reach the final by cheating (against Ampleforth, two of the First Years steal the answers before the match; against Bedales, they lace their opponents' drinks with magic mushrooms; the Eton team is rendered clueless by their seduction).
During the final, Kelly, Chav Taylor, and emo Andrea foil the security for the painting that they're after and eventually retrieve it. On the way back the cable that they are using snaps just after Taylor and Andrea get over to the other side. Kelly gets stuck with no way to get to other side. Miss Fritton sees that Kelly is trapped and goes to help, having to also distract Geoffrey through a combination of liquor and seduction. Meanwhile, Annabelle takes care of Verity's threat to foil the girls' escape route by shooting her walkie-talkie with her hockey stick at Verity, knocking her out. At the same time, the girls win School Challenge.
The school successfully gets the painting and sells it to Carnaby who fails to realise until he buys it that it is not the genuine print which has been returned to the police under the cover of St Trinian's finding it, but a copy painted by Miss Fritton. He faints and Flash, dressed as Gerhardt to give him the art, races to the car that is waiting for him. They receive a reward of £50,000 for returning the real painting, which they supposedly found. With the cash from Carnaby they pay back the money owed to the bank and St Trinian's stays in business.
|Gemma Arterton||Kelly Opposum Jones, the Head Girl|
|Rupert Everett||Miss Camilla Dagey Fritton, St Trinian's Head Mistress
Carnaby Fritton, Camilla's brother, Annabelle's father
|Colin Firth||Geoffrey Thwaites, the Education Minister|
|Russell Brand||Flash Harry, the spiv|
|Talulah Riley||Annabelle Lealla Fritton, the new girl|
|Tamsin Egerton||Chelsea Parker, Posh Totty #1|
|Antonia Bernath||Chloe, Posh Totty #2|
|Amara Karan||Peaches, Posh Totty #3|
|Paloma Faith||Andrea, the Emo|
|Juno Temple||Celia, the "Trustafarian" one|
|Kathryn Drysdale||Taylor, the Chav|
|Lily Cole||Polly, the Geek|
|Holly Mackie & Cloe Mackie||Tara & Tania, the Twins|
|Lena Headey||Miss Dickinson, the English Teacher|
|Fenella Woolgar||Miss Cleaver, the Sports Teacher|
|Caterina Murino||Miss Maupassant, the Foreign Languages Teacher|
|Jodie Whittaker||Beverly, the receptionist|
|Toby Jones||St Trinian's Bursar|
|Celia Imrie||St Trinian's Matron|
|Stephen Fry||Himself, the School Challenge presenter|
|Anna Chancellor||Miss Bagstock, Cheltenham's Head Mistress|
|Lucy Punch||Verity Thwaites, the Minister's daughter, and Cheltenham's school bully|
|Mischa Barton||JJ French, the PR Guru, and previous Head Girl|
|Steve Furst||Bank Manager|
|Dolly the Dog||Mr Darcy, the school's dog|
The band members of Girls Aloud (Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh, Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle and Cheryl Cole) all make cameo appearances as the members of St Trinian's school band, and cameos in the film itself. Zöe Salmonalso makes a cameo appearance as an emo girl, while Nathaniel Parker, the director's real-life brother, makes a short appearance as the Chairman of the National Gallery. Jeremy Thompson also briefly appears, as himself.
St Trinian's premiered in London on 10 December 2007 and in wide release on 21 December 2007, it was then released in Australia on 27 March 2008 and in New Zealand on 17 April 2008. Other European releases were planned for Belgium on 9 July 2008, and Germany on 7 August 2008.
The DVD was released in Canada on 11 August 2009.
St Trinian's grossed £12,042,854 in the UK, surpassing its £7 million production budget. As of 18 July 2010, the film had grossed a worldwide total of $29,066,483. It was the fourth highest-grossing film during the 2007 Christmas season behind Enchanted, I Am Legend and The Golden Compass. It ranks in the top grossing independent British films of the past decade.
The film was released on DVD in March 2008; and in the US on 26 January 2010.
St Trinian's received mixed reviews. Empire wrote that the film "fuse[s] an understanding of what made the originals great with a modern feel – the writers have fulfilled their end of the bargain, even tweaking some of the weaker points of the original story." The Observer wrote that it "is raucous, leering, crude and, to my mind, largely misjudged, with Rupert Everett playing Miss Fritton as a coquettish transvestite with the manners of a Mayfair madam. The attempts to shock us fail, though Cheltenham Ladies College may well be affronted to hear one of its teachers say 'between you and I'. But the preview was packed with girls aged from seven to 14 who found it hilarious, and especially enjoyed Russell Brand."
Derek Malcolm in the Evening Standard wrote: "Structurally, the new movie is a mess, and it doesn't look too convincing either, with cinematography that uses all sorts of old-fashioned dodges to raise a laugh", and "when you look at it again, the old film was not only superior but rather more radical. This St Trinian's looks as if it is aiming at the lowest common denominator, and finding it too often."
On the film-critics aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, St Trinian's holds a 31% positive rating, with the consensus "Both naughtier and campier than Ronald Searle's original postwar series, this St. Trinian's leans on high jinks instead of performances or witty dialogue."
It was announced at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival that the sequel, The Legend of Fritton's Gold, also directed by Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson, would be released in 2009. Filming began on 6 July 2009, and on 7 July 2009, it was announced that David Tennant, Sarah Harding and Montserrat Lombard had all signed on to appear in the sequel. In December 2009, it was announced that there will be a St Trinian's 3.